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2021 Best General Education Schools

432 Colleges
$47,138 Avg Salary
$29,674 Avg Student Debt

Finding the Best General Education School for You

In 2018-2019, 31,066 people earned a degree or certificate in general education, making the major the #40 most popular in the United States.

There are so many programs in today's world that it can tough to figure out which one is the right one for you. Along with traditional schools that require in-person attendence, you can attend one of many reputable online schools. Some programs even offer a hybrid experience. Alternatively, you may choose a trade school that prepares you to enter the workforce with knowledge in a specific field.

To assist you in seeing some of the education options that are available to you, Course Advisor has created its Best General Education Schools ranking. This report analyzed 432 schools in the United States to see which ones offered the best programs for students.

View our full ranking methodology.

2021 Best General Education Schools in the United States

The following schools top our list of the Best General Education Colleges.

Top 25 Top Schools in Education

Our 2021 rankings named Claremont Graduate University the best school in the United States for general education students. Located in the large suburb of Claremont, Claremont Graduate University is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

On average, education graduates from Claremont Graduate University take out $107,076 in student loans while working on their degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $1,248.

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#2

Brandman University

Irvine, CA

A rank of #2 on this year’s list means Brandman University is a great place for general education students. Brandman is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of Irvine.

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#3

Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Out of the 432 schools in the United States that were part of this year’s ranking, Stanford University landed the # 3 spot on the list. Located in the large suburb of Stanford, Stanford is a private not-for-profit college with a large student population.

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#4

Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Johns Hopkins University. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best General Education Schools list. Located in the city of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

While working on their degree, education majors at Johns Hopkins accumulate an average of around $20,500 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $239.

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#5

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Harvard University. It ranked #5 on our 2021 Best General Education Schools list. Harvard is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the midsize city of Cambridge.

On average, education graduates from Harvard take out $30,750 in student loans while working on their degree. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $358, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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#6

Texas Christian University

Fort Worth, TX

Texas Christian University did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for general education students. It came in at #6 on the list. Located in the city of Fort Worth, TCU is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

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University of Delaware landed the #7 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general education programs. U of Delaware is a fairly large public school located in the suburb of Newark.

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#8

Stonehill College

Easton, MA

With a ranking of #8, Stonehill College did quite well on this year’s best schools for general education students. Stonehill is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Easton.

Education majors at Stonehill take out an average of $27,000 in student loans while working on their egree. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $280.

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University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign came in at #9 in this year’s edition of the Best General Education Schools ranking. UIUC is a very large public school located in the small city of Champaign.

On average, education graduates from UIUC take out $21,502 in student loans while working on their degree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $251.

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#10

Gustavus Adolphus College

Saint Peter, MN

Gustavus Adolphus College did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for general education students. It came in at #10 on the list. Located in the fringe town of Saint Peter, Gustavus Adolphus is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

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#11

Brown University

Providence, RI

With a ranking of #11, Brown University did quite well on this year’s best schools for general education students. Located in the midsize city of Providence, Brown is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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#12

University of San Diego

San Diego, CA

With a ranking of #12, University of San Diego did quite well on this year’s best schools for general education students. U of San Diego is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the large city of San Diego.

After completing their degree, education graduates from U of San Diego carry an average student debtload of $31,706. When it comes time to repay the loan, graduates who are on a 10-year repayment plan pay an average monthly payment of $369.

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#13

Tufts University

Medford, MA

Tufts University landed the #13 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general education programs. Located in the suburb of Medford, Tufts is a private not-for-profit college with a fairly large student population.

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#14

New York University

New York, NY

New York University came in at #14 in this year’s edition of the Best General Education Schools ranking. NYU is a fairly large private not-for-profit school located in the city of New York.

After completing their degree, education graduates from NYU carry an average student debtload of $64,129. The average monthly payment of a loan this size is about $747, assuming that the borrower is on a 10-year repayment plan.

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With a ranking of #15, Concordia College at Moorhead did quite well on this year’s best schools for general education students. Concordia College Moorhead is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Moorhead.

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Catholic University of America came in at #16 in this year’s edition of the Best General Education Schools ranking. CUA is a moderately-sized private not-for-profit school located in the city of Washington.

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#17

Connors State College

Warner, OK

Connors State College came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best General Education Schools ranking. CSC is a small public school located in the rural area of Warner.

The average amount in student loans that education majors at CSC take out is $8,000. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $83.

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#18

Midland University

Fremont, NE

Midland University came in at #18 in this year’s edition of the Best General Education Schools ranking. Midland U is a small private not-for-profit school located in the town of Fremont.

While working on their degree, education majors at Midland U accumulate an average of around $27,000 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $280.

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#19

Martin Luther College

New Ulm, MN

Martin Luther College landed the #19 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general education programs. Located in the town of New Ulm, MLC is a private not-for-profit school with a fairly small student population.

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With a ranking of #20, Northwest University-College of Adult and Professional Studies did quite well on this year’s best schools for general education students. Located in the suburb of Kirkland, Northwest University-College of Adult and Professional Studies is a private not-for-profit school with a small student population.

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#21

Bethel University Minnesota

Saint Paul, MN

Bethel University Minnesota landed the #21 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general education programs. Located in the large suburb of Saint Paul, Bethel University Minnesota is a private not-for-profit college with a small student population.

The average amount in student loans that education majors at Bethel University Minnesota take out is $23,010. This translates to an average monthly loan payment of $268, based on a 10-year repayment plan.

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California State University - Dominguez Hills did quite well in this year’s ranking of the best schools for general education students. It came in at #22 on the list. California State University - Dominguez Hills is a large public school located in the city of Carson.

While working on their degree, education majors at California State University - Dominguez Hills accumulate an average of around $20,500 in student debt. Assuming that a graduate chooses a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly loan payment is $239.

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With a ranking of #23, California State University - Bakersfield did quite well on this year’s best schools for general education students. Located in the large city of Bakersfield, California State University - Bakersfield is a public school with a large student population.

Education majors at California State University - Bakersfield take out an average of $13,667 in student loans while working on their egree. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $159.

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#24

Messiah University

Mechanicsburg, PA

Messiah University landed the #24 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general education programs. Messiah is a small private not-for-profit school located in the suburb of Mechanicsburg.

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#25

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis University landed the #25 spot in the 2021 rankings for the best general education programs. Located in the city of Saint Louis, SLU is a private not-for-profit school with a large student population.

While working on their degree, education majors at SLU accumulate an average of around $26,200 in student debt. For students who choose a 10-year repayment plan, the average monthly student loan payment is $272.

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Rest of the Top Best General Education Schools

#26

Michigan State University

East Lansing, MI
#27

National University

La Jolla, CA
#28

Monmouth University

West Long Branch, NJ
#29

Augustana University

Sioux Falls, SD
#31

Fairfield University

Fairfield, CT
#32

Marquette University

Milwaukee, WI
#34

University of Chicago

Chicago, IL
#35

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA
#37

University of the Pacific

Stockton, CA
#40

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS
#45

Auburn University

Auburn, AL
#47

Vanderbilt University

Nashville, TN
#48

Highland Community College

Highland, KS
#50

Purdue University - Main Campus

West Lafayette, IN

Additional Award Winners

This section represents the rest of the colleges awarded a Best General Education Schools badge. Showing in this list means the school was ranked in the top 15% of the 432 different United States general education schools we analyzed.

Rank College Location
51 Campbell University Buies Creek, NC
52 North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC
53 Boston University Boston, MA
54 University of Wisconsin - Stout Menomonie, WI
55 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
56 Saint Norbert College De Pere, WI
57 University of Northern Iowa Cedar Falls, IA
58 Seattle Pacific University Seattle, WA
59 University of Hawaii - West Oahu Kapolei, HI
60 University of Washington - Bothell Campus Bothell, WA
61 University of Saint Joseph West Hartford, CT
62 University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI
63 York College of Pennsylvania York, PA
64 University of Washington - Tacoma Campus Tacoma, WA

Honorable Mentions

These are some additional schools worth mentioning that are also great but just didn't quite make the cut to earn our top Best General Education Schools award.

Rank College Location
65 East Texas Baptist University Marshall, TX
66 University of Rochester Rochester, NY
67 Endicott College Beverly, MA
68 Pennsylvania State University - World Campus University Park, PA
69 Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, CA
70 Hamline University Saint Paul, MN
71 Buena Vista University Storm Lake, IA
72 San Jose State University San Jose, CA
73 John Carroll University University Heights, OH
74 Rutgers University - New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
75 Mercer University Macon, GA
76 University of Missouri - Columbia Columbia, MO
77 University of Georgia Athens, GA
78 University of California - Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
79 California State Polytechnic University - Pomona Pomona, CA
80 University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point Stevens Point, WI
81 University of California - Riverside Riverside, CA
82 Niagara University Niagara University, NY
83 Saint Joseph’s University Philadelphia, PA
84 Gonzaga University Spokane, WA
85 Washington State University Pullman, WA
86 James Madison University Harrisonburg, VA

General Education by Region

View the Best General Education Schools for a specific region near you.

Region
Southeast
New England
Rocky Mountains
Plains States
Middle Atlantic
Far Western US
Southwest
Great Lakes

One of 14 majors within the area of study, general education has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Teacher Education Grade Specific 100,925
Educational Administration 44,381
Teacher Education Subject Specific 43,516
Special Education 30,639
Curriculum & Instruction 18,767

Notes and References

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

  • Read more about our ranking methodology.
  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of the rest of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Credit for the banner image above goes to KOKUYO.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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